Recent discussion of Vogel-style “bootstrapping” scenarios suggests that they provide counterexamples to a wide variety of epistemological theories. Yet it remains unclear why it’s bad for a theory to permit bootstrapping, or even exactly what counts as a bootstrapping case. Going back to Vogel's original bootstrapping example, I note that an agent who could gain justification through the method Vogel describes would have available a “no-lose investigation”: an investigation that can justify a proposition but has no (...) possibility of undermining it. The main suggestion of this article is that an epistemological theory should not permit no-lose investigations. I identify necessary and sufficient conditions for such investigations, then explore epistemological theories that rule them out. If we want to avoid both skepticism and no-lose investigations, we must eschew either Closure or epistemic externalism. (shrink)
Vogel argues that sensitivity accounts of knowledge are implausible because they entail that we cannot have any higher-level knowledge that our beliefs are true, not false. Becker and Salerno object that Vogel is mistaken because he does not formalize higher-level beliefs adequately. They claim that if formalized correctly, higher-level beliefs are sensitive, and can therefore constitute knowledge. However, these accounts do not consider the belief-forming method as sensitivity accounts require. If we take bootstrapping as the belief-forming method, as the (...) discussed cases suggest, then we face a generality problem. Our higher-level beliefs as formalized by Becker and Salerno turn out to be sensitive according to a wide reading of bootstrapping, but insensitive according to a narrow reading. This particular generality problem does not arise for the alternative accounts of process reliabilism and basis-relative safety. Hence, sensitivity accounts not only deliver opposite results given different formalizations of higher-level beliefs, but also for the same formalization, depending on how we interpret bootstrapping. Therefore, sensitivity accounts do not fail because they make higher-level knowledge impossible, as Vogel argues, and they do not succeed in allowing higher-level knowledge, as Becker and Salerno suggest. Rather, their problem is that they deliver far too heterogeneous results. (shrink)
According to the bootstrapping problem, any view that allows for basic knowledge (knowledge obtained from a reliable source prior to one’s knowing that that source is reliable) is forced to accept that one can utilize a track-record argument to acquire justification for believing that one’s belief source is reliable; yet, we tend to think that acquiring justification in this way is too easy. In this paper I argue, first, that those who respond to the bootstrapping problem by denying (...) basic knowledge succumb to over-intellectualizing epistemology, and secondly, reliabilist views avoid over-intellectualization only at the expense of sanctioning bootstrapping as a benign procedure. Both of these outcomes are difficult to bear. To ward off each of these unsavory outcomes, I propose an alternative solution that draws on a distinction between two separate epistemic concepts: entitlement and justification. (shrink)
According to Perceptual Fundamentalism we can have justified perceptual beliefs solely in virtue of having perceptual experiences with corresponding contents. Recently, it has been argued that Perceptual Fundamentalism entails that it is possible to gain an a priori justified belief that perception is reliable by engaging in a suppositional reasoning process of a priori bootstrapping. But I will show that Perceptual Fundamentalists are not committed to a priori bootstrapping being a rational reasoning process. On the most plausible versions (...) of Perceptual Fundamentalism, a priori bootstrapping cannot be used to rationally support anti-sceptical beliefs about the reliability of perception. Moreover, seeing why Perceptual Fundamentalists are not committed to a priori bootstrapping will help us to better understand the nature of the perceptual entitlements that Perceptual Fundamentalists posit, or at least should posit. (shrink)
In a 2002 article Stewart Cohen advances the “bootstrapping problem” for what he calls “basic justification theories,” and in a 2010 followup he offers a solution to the problem, exploiting the idea that suppositional reasoning may be used with defeasible as well as with deductive inference rules. To curtail the form of bootstrapping permitted by basic justification theories, Cohen insists that subjects must know their perceptual faculties are reliable before perception can give them knowledge. But how is such (...) knowledge of reliability to be acquired if not through perception itself? Cohen proposes that such knowledge may be acquired a priori through suppositional reasoning. I argue that his strategy runs afoul of a plausible view about how epistemic principles function; in brief, I argue that one must actually satisfy the antecedent of an epistemic principle, not merely suppose that one does, to acquire any justification by its means – even justification for a merely conditional proposition. (shrink)
Susan Carey's account of Quinean bootstrapping has been heavily criticized. While it purports to explain how important new concepts are learned, many commentators complain that it is unclear just what bootstrapping is supposed to be or how it is supposed to work. Others allege that bootstrapping falls prey to the circularity challenge: it cannot explain how new concepts are learned without presupposing that learners already have those very concepts. Drawing on discussions of concept learning from the philosophical (...) literature, this article develops a detailed interpretation of bootstrapping that can answer the circularity challenge. The key to this interpretation is the recognition of computational constraints, both internal and external to the mind, which can endow empty symbols with new conceptual roles and thus new contents. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a detailed critical reading of Robert Brandom’s project to give an expressive bootstrapping account of intentionality, cashed out as a normative-phenomenalist account of what I will call genuine normativity. I claim that there is a reading of Making It Explicit that evades the predominant charges of either reductionism or circularity. However, making sense of Brandom’s book in the way proposed here involves correcting Brandom’s own general account of what he is doing in it, and (...) thus presenting the argumentative structure of Making It Explicit in a new light. (shrink)
Quinian bootstrapping is Susan Carey's solution to Fodor’s paradox of concept learning. Carey claims that contrary to Fodor’s view, not all learning amounts to hypothesis testing, and that there are ways in which even primitive concepts can be learned. Recently Georges Rey has argued that Carey’s attempt to refute radical concept nativism is unsuccessful. First it cannot explain how the expressive power of mental representational systems could increase due to learning. Second, both Fodorian circularity charges and Goodmanian problems of (...) indeterminacy apply to Carey’s examples of Quinian bootstrapping. I argue that Carey’s examples of bootstrapping can be amended to escape Fodorian and Goodmanian objections. I suggest some ways to improve on our models of concept learning to this end. I also argue that skill learning is the way for mental representational systems to increase their own expressive power, that is, to enrich their conceptual repertoire beyond what compositionality alone affords. (shrink)
Human cognition is striking in its brilliance and its adaptability. How do we get that way? How do we move from the nearly helpless state of infants to the cognitive proficiency that characterizes adults? In this paper I argue, first, that analogical ability is the key factor in our prodigious capacity, and, second, that possession of a symbol system is crucial to the full expression of analogical ability.
According to a much discussed argument, reliabilism is defective for making knowledge too easy to come by. In a recent paper, Weisberg aims to show that this argument relies on a type of reasoning that is rejectable on independent grounds. We argue that the blanket rejection that Weisberg recommends of this type of reasoning is both unwarranted and unwelcome. Drawing on an older discussion in the philosophy of science, we show that placing some relatively modest restrictions on the said type (...) of reasoning suffices to block the anti-reliabilist argument. (shrink)
The leading idea of this article is that one cannot acquire knowledge of any non-epistemic fact by virtue of knowing that one that knows something. The lines of reasoning involved in the surprise exam paradox and in Williamson’s _reductio_ of the KK-principle, which demand that one can, are thereby undermined, and new type of counter-example to epistemic closure emerges.
Pretheoretically we hold that we cannot gain justification or knowledge through an epistemically circular reasoning process. Epistemically circular reasoning occurs when a subject forms the belief that p on the basis of an argument A, where at least one of the premises of A already presupposes the truth of p. It has often been argued that process reliabilism does not rule out that this kind of reasoning leads to justification or knowledge. For some philosophers, this is a reason to reject (...) reliabilism. Those who try to defend reliabilism have two basic options: (I) accept that reliabilism does not rule out circular reasoning, but argue that this kind of reasoning is not as epistemically “bad” as it seems, or (II) hold on to the view that circular reasoning is epistemically “bad”, but deny that reliabilism really allows this kind of reasoning. Option (I) has been spelled out in several ways, all of which have found to be problematic. Option (II) has not been discussed very widely. Vogel considers and quickly dismisses it on the basis of three reasons. Weisberg has shown in detail that one of these reasons is unconvincing. In this paper I argue that the other two reasons are unconvincing as well and that therefore option (II) might in fact be a more promising starting point to defend reliabilism than option (I). (shrink)
Voluntarists in the early modern period speak of an agent’s following the law because she was ordered to do so or because it’s the law. Contemporary philosophers tend either to ignore or to dismiss the possibility of justified obedience of this sort – that is, they ignore or dismiss the possibility that something’s being the law could in itself constitute a good reason to act. In this paper, I suggest that this view isn’t taken seriously because of certain widespread beliefs (...) about practical reason – in particular, it’s due to the belief that it’s impossible for reasons to be “bootstrapped” into existence. I argue, though, that a plausible account of practical reasoning should allow that reasons can be bootstrapped into existence, and so there’s no reason to be suspicious about the possibility of a person’s being justified in following the law because it’s the law. I end by suggesting that this conclusion opens up important new avenues of inquiry for philosophers working on topics related to legal obedience. (shrink)
“Myth theorists” have recently called the normative requirement of means-end rationality into question. I show that we can accept certain lessons from the Myth Theorists and also salvage our intuition that there is a normative requirement of means-end rationality. I argue that any appeal to a requirement to make our attitudes coherent as such is superfluous and unnecessary in order to vindicate the requirement of means-end rationality and also avoid the problematic conclusion that persons ought to take the means to (...) whatever ends they happen to intend. (shrink)
The bootstrapping problem poses a general challenge, afflicting even strongly internalist theories. Even if one must always know that one’s source is reliable to gain knowledge from it, bootstrapping is still possible. I survey some solutions internalists might offer and defend the one I find most plausible: that bootstrapping involves an abuse of inductive reasoning akin to generalizing from a small or biased sample. I also argue that this solution is equally available to the reliabilist. The moral (...) is that the issues raised by bootstrapping are orthogonal to questions about internalism and basic knowledge, having more to do with the nature of good inductive reasoning. (shrink)
Bootstrapping is a suspicious form of reasoning that verifies a source's reliability by checking it against itself. Theories that endorse such reasoning face the bootstrapping problem. This article considers which theories face the problem, and surveys potential solutions. The initial focus is on theories like reliabilism and dogmatism, which allow one to gain knowledge from a source without knowing that it is reliable. But the discussion quickly turns to a more general version of the problem that does not (...) depend on this allowance. Five potential solutions to the general problem are evaluated, and some implications for the literature on peer disagreement are considered. (shrink)
The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and (...) a posteriori resources are in fact used in parallel. We will define this relationship between a priori and a posteriori knowledge as the bootstrapping relationship. As we will see, this relationship gives us reasons to seek for an altogether novel definition of a priori and a posteriori knowledge. Specifically, we will have to analyse the relationship between a priori knowledge and a priori reasoning , and it will be suggested that the latter serves as a more promising starting point for the analysis of aprioricity. We will also analyse a number of examples from the natural sciences and consider the role of a priori reasoning in these examples. The focus of this paper is the analysis of the concepts of a priori and a posteriori knowledge rather than the epistemic domain of a posteriori and a priori justification. (shrink)
Jonathan Vogel has presented a disturbing problem for reliabilism. 1 Reliabilists claim that knowledge is reliably produced true belief. Reliabilism is, of course, a version of externalism, and on such a view, a knower need have no knowledge, no justified belief, indeed, no conception that his or her belief is reliably produced. It is the fact that the knower's true belief is reliably produced which makes it a case of knowledge, not any appreciation of this fact. But Vogel now argues (...) that reliabilists will, by a process he calls ‘bootstrapping’, far too easily gain knowledge of the reliability of the processes by which their knowledge is produced. For the reliabilist, knowledge which should be difficult to come by is quite easily and trivially attainable, Vogel argues. And this, of course, seems to show a fundamental flaw in the reliabilist conception of knowledge.One solution to this puzzle is offered by van Cleve . Bootstrapping may seem unattractive, van Cleve claims, but only when we fail to consider the alternative. Any epistemological view which does not legitimate bootstrapping, he argues, will inevitably lead to scepticism. And if the choice is between bootstrapping and scepticism, van Cleve will happily accept bootstrapping.It would be nice, certainly, if we could avoid this unpalatable dilemma.Vogel's argument is disturbingly straightforward. Suppose that Roxanne gains knowledge that the gas tank in her car is full by looking at her gas gauge, and let us further suppose that Roxanne has no reason at all to believe that her gas gauge is reliable. As Vogel points out, reliabilists cannot object to these assumptions. Precisely because reliabilism is a version of externalism, reliabilists must allow that there are cases meeting these very conditions. That is, reliabilists must allow that one can gain knowledge by way of a …. (shrink)
According to traditional theism, God alone exists a se, independent of all other things, and all other things exist ab alio, i.e., God both creates them and sustains them in existence. On the face of it, divine "aseity" is inconsistent with classical Platonism, i.e., the view that there are objectively existing, abstract objects. For according to the classical Platonist, at least some abstract entities are wholly uncreated, necessary beings and, hence, as such, they also exist a se. The thesis of (...) theistic activism purports to reconcile divine aseity with a robust Platonism. Specifically, the activist holds that God creates the abstract objects no less than the contingent concrete objects of the physical universe and hence that, like all created things, they exist ab alio after all, their necessity notwithstanding. But many philosophers believe a severe roadblock for activism remains — a problem known as the bootstrapping objection. Despite widespread faith in the deliverances of this argument, in this paper I show that the bootstrapping objection is open to significant objections on several fronts. (shrink)
Samuel Scheffler defends “The Afterlife Conjecture”: the view that the continued existence of humanity after our deaths—“the afterlife”—lies in the background of our valuing; were we to lose confidence in it, many of the projects we engage in would lose their meaning. The Afterlife Conjecture, in his view, also brings out the limits of our egoism, showing that we care more about yet unborn strangers than about personal survival. But why does the afterlife itself matter to us? Examination of Scheffler’s (...) second argument helps answer this question, thereby undermining his argument. Our concern for the afterlife involves bootstrapping: we care more about the afterlife than about personal survival precisely because the latter has such salient limits that our lives are structured by adaptation to mortality, and it is only because the afterlife does provide a measure of personal survival that it can give meaning to our projects. (shrink)
This paper argues that sociocultural accounts of learning fail to answer the key question about learning—how is it possible? Accordingly, we should adopt an individualist bootstrapping methodology in providing a theory of learning. Such a methodology takes seriously the idea that learning is staged and distinguishes between a non-comprehending engagement with things and a comprehending engagement. It suggests that, in the light of recent work in psychology with insights from Wittgenstein, there is rich scope for a bootstrapping account (...) of learning. The paper also argues that sociocultural approaches when pushed, either require some such bootstrapping account, or they collapse into an obscure Ficthean metaphysics in which individual abilities are ‘summoned into being’ by the attitudes of others. (shrink)
Bootstrapping, evidentialist internalism, and rule circularity Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9876-9 Authors Anthony Brueckner, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
If our mental attitudes were reasons, we could bootstrap anything into rationality simply by acquiring these mental attitudes. This, it has been argued, shows that mental attitudes cannot be reasons. In this paper, I focus on John Broome’s development of the bootstrapping objection. I distinguish various versions of this objection and I argue that the bootstrapping objection to mind-based accounts of reasons fails in all its versions.
The main argument given for relevant alternatives theories of knowledge has been that they answer scepticism about the external world. I will argue that relevant alternatives also solve two other problems that have been much discussed in recent years, a) the bootstrapping problem and b) the apparent conflict between semantic externalism and armchair self-knowledge. Furthermore, I will argue that scepticism and Mooreanism can be embedded within the relevant alternatives framework.
The commentators raised issues relevant to all three important theses of The Origin of Concepts (henceforth TOOC). Some questioned the very existence of innate representational primitives, and others questioned my claims about their richness and whether they should be thought of as concepts. Some questioned the existence of conceptual discontinuity in the course of knowledge acquisition and others argued that discontinuity is much more common than was portrayed in TOOC. Some raised issues with my characterization of Quinian bootstrapping, and (...) others questioned the dual factor theory of concepts motivated by my picture of conceptual development. (shrink)
This paper suggests that the energy flow on which all living structures depend only started up slowly, the low-energy, initial phase starting up a second, slightly more energetic phase, and so on. In this way, the build up of the energy flow follows a bootstrapping process similar to that found in the development of computers, the first generation making possible the calculations necessary for constructing the second one, etc. In the biogenetic upstart of an energy flow, non-metals in the (...) lower periods of the Periodic Table of Elements would have constituted the most primitive systems, their operation being enhanced and later supplanted by elements in the higher periods that demand more energy. This bootstrapping process would put the development of the metabolisms based on the second period elements carbon, nitrogen and oxygen at the end of the evolutionary process rather than at, or even before, the biogenetic event. (shrink)
The main appeal of the currently popular "bootstrap" account of confirmation developed by Clark Glymour is that it seems to provide an account of evidential relevance. This account has, however, had severe problems; and Glymour has revised his original account in an attempt to solve them. I argue that this attempt fails completely, and that any similar modifications must also fail. If the problems can be solved, it will only be by radical revisions which involve jettisoning bootstrapping's basic approach (...) to theories. Finally, I argue that there is little reason to think that even such drastic modifications will lead to a satisfactory account of relevance. (shrink)
Many have claimed that legitimate constitutional democracy is either conceptually or practically impossible, given infinite regress paradoxes deriving from the requirement of simultaneously democratic and constitutional origins for legitimate government. This paper first critically investigates prominent conceptual and practical bootstrapping objections advanced by Barnett and Michelman. It then argues that the real conceptual root of such bootstrapping objections is not any specific substantive account of legitimacy makers, such as consent or democratic endorsement, but a particular conception of the (...) logic of normative standards—the determinate threshold conception—that the critic attributes to the putatively undermined account of legitimacy. The paper further claims that when we abandon threshold conceptions of the logic of legitimacy in favor of regulative-ideal conceptions, then the objections, from bootstrapping paradoxes to the very idea of constitutional democracy, disappear. It concludes with considerations in favor of adopting a more demanding conception of the regulative ideal of constitutional democracy, advanced by Habermas, focusing on potentials for developmental learning. (shrink)
Dogmatists claim that having a perceptual experience as of p can provide one with immediate and defeasible warrant to believe that p. A persistent complaint against this position is that it sanctions an intuitively illicit form of reasoning: bootstrapping. I argue that dogmatism has no such commitments. Dogmatism is compatible with a principle that disallows the final non-deductive inference in the bootstrapping procedure. However, some authors have maintained that such strategy is doomed to failure because earlier stages of (...) in the bootstrapping inference are already problematic. I argue that insofar as these inferences appear problematic, the dogmatist is not committed to sanctioning them. I conclude that the bootstrapping argument presents no significant objection to the claim that perceptual experiences can provide immediate and defeasible warrant to believe their contents. (shrink)
A two-stage procedure is described which induces type-logical grammar lexicons from sentences annotated with skeletal terms of the simply typed lambda calculus. First, a generalized formulae-as-types correspondence is exploited to obtain all the type-logical proofs of the sample sentences from their lambda terms. The resulting lexicons are then optimally unified. The first stage constitutes the semantic bootstrapping (Pinker, Language Learnability and Language Development, Harvard University Press, 1984), while the unification procedure of Buszkowski and Penn represents a first attempt at (...) structure-dependent distributional learning of the syntactic and semantic categories. This effort extends earlier induction procedures (Buszkowski and Penn, 1990, Studia Logica 49, 431–454; Kanazawa, 1998, CSLI Publications and the European Association for Logic, Language and Information) for classical categorial grammar to at first the non-associative Lambek calculus, and then to a large class of type logics enriched by modal operators and structural rules. (shrink)
Modified Theistic Activism is the view that abstract objects not essentially possessed by God fall under God’s creative activity in one way or another. Michelle Panchuk has argued that this position succumbs to the bootstrapping problem such that God is and is not logically prior to his properties—an incoherent and necessarily false state of affairs. In this essay we respond to Panchuk by arguing that our neo-Aristotelian account of substance and property possession successfully avoids the bootstrapping problem. Moreover, (...) her own neo-Augustinian account of universals contains many conceptual deficiencies and ultimately succumbs to an epistemic iteration of the bootstrapping problem. Finally, we argue that the reasons provided for thinking only created beings need universals to ground character is unmotivated. In clarifying and defending our position, our hope is to bury once and for all the familiar claim that traditional theists cannot be realists with respect to abstract objects because of divine bootstrapping. (shrink)
Christensen [Philosophy of Science, 50: 471–481, 1983] and [Philosophy of Science, 57: 644–662, 1990] provides two sets of counter-examples to the versions of bootstrap confirmation for standard first-order languages presented in Glymour [Theory and Evidence, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1980] and [Philosophy of Science, 50: 626–629, 1983]. This paper responds to the counter-examples of Christensen [Philosophy of Science, 50: 471–481, 1983] by utilizing a new notion of content introduced in Gemes [Journal of Philosophical Logic, 26, 449–476, 1997]. It is claimed (...) that this response is better motivated and more effective than that presented in Glymour [Philosophy of Science, 50: 626–629, 1983]. It is then argued that while this response meets some of the counter-examples of Christensen [Philosophy of Science, 57: 644–662, 1990] two of those counter-examples, though not unanswerable, suggest the need for a substantial reformulation of the formal versions of bootstrapping. The essay proceeds with such a reformulation, arguing that this new formulation better fits the philosophical insights that originally motivated bootstrapping than do Glymour’s earlier formulations. In the concluding sections some alternative solutions to the problem posed by the Christensen counter-examples are discussed. (shrink)
An amended bootstrapping can avoid Christensen's counterexamples. Earman and Edidin argue that Christensen's examples to bootstrapping rely on his failure to analyze background knowledge. I add an additional condition to bootstrapping that is motivated by Glymour's remarks on variety of evidence. I argue that it avoids the problems that the examples raise. I defend the modification against the charge that it is holistic, and that it collapses into Bayesianism.
Investigating random homicides involves constructing models of an odd sort. While the differences between these models and scientific models are radical, calling them models is justified both by functional and structural similarities. Serial homicide investigations illustrate the marked difference between theoretical models in science and the models applied in these criminal investigations. This is further illustrated by considering Glymourian bootstrapping in attempts to solve such homicides. The solutions that result differ radically from explanations in science that are confirmed or (...) disconfirmed by occurrences. Unlike the scientist, the flatfoot gumshoe is also barefoot: he is bereft of a general, determinative theoretical frame. This result shows that criminal investigations do not apply science in the Galilean sense. (shrink)
Two alternative solutions to the problem of computing the values of theoretical quantities and of testing theoretical hypotheses are Sneed’s structuralist eliminationism and Glymour’s bootstrapping. Sneed attempts to solve the problem by eliminating theoretical quantities by means of the so-called Ramsey-Sneed sentence that represents the global empirical claim of the given theory. Glymour proposes to solve the problem by deducing the values of the theoretical quantities from the hypothesis to be tested. In those cases where the theoretical quantities are (...) not strongly Ramsey-eliminable, eliminationism does not succeed in computing the values of theoretical quantities, and it is compelled to use bootstrapping in this task. On the other hand, we see that a general notion of bootstrapping provides a formally correct procedure for computing theoretical quantities, and thus contributes to the solution to the problem of testing theoretical hypotheses involving these quantities. (shrink)
Coreference resolution is a challenging natural language processing task, and it is difficult to identify the correct mentions of an entity that can be any noun or noun phrase. In this article, a semisupervised, two-stage pattern-based bootstrapping approach is proposed for the coreference resolution task. During Stage 1, the possible mentions are identified using word-based features, and during Stage 2, the correct mentions are identified by filtering the non-coreferents of an entity using statistical measures and graph-based features. Whereas the (...) existing approaches use morphosyntactic and number/gender agreement features, the proposed approach uses semantic graph-based context-level semantics and nested noun phrases in the correct mentions identification. Moreover, mentions without the number/gender information are identified, using the context-based features of the semantic graph. The evaluation performed for the coreference resolution shows significant improvements, when compared with the word association-based bootstrapping systems. (shrink)
Several difficulties have been raised concerning applicability of Glymour's model to developing and "un-natural" sciences, those contexts in which he claims it should be most clearly instantiated. An analysis of testing in such a field, archaeology, indicates that while bootstrapping may be realized in general outline, practice necessarily departs from the ideal in at least three important respects 1) it is not strictly theory contained, 2) the theory-mediated inference from evidence to test hypothesis is not exclusively deductive and, 3) (...) structural considerations do not displace or take precedence over substantive considerations. These points of divergence reflect the fact that bootstrapping in developing and exploratory sciences is as much a process of theory construction as of theory testing. (shrink)
Anderson's massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) takes the grounding of meaning in sensorimotor behaviour to be a side effect of neural reuse. I suggest this grounding may play a much more fundamental role in accounting for the bootstrapping of higher-level cognition from sensorimotor behaviour. Thus, the question of when neural reuse delivers semantic inheritance is a pressing one for MRH.
Carey focuses her theory on initial knowledge and Quinian bootstrapping. We reflect on developmental mechanisms, which can operate in between. Whereas most of the research aims at delimitating early cognitive mechanisms, we point at the need for studying their integration and mutual bootstrapping. We illustrate this call by referring to a current debate on infants' use of featural representations.
By bootstrapping the output of the PC algorithm (Spirtes et al., 2000; Meek 1995), using larger conditioning sets informed by the current graph state, it is possible to define a novel algorithm, JPC, that improves accuracy of search for i.i.d. data drawn from linear, Gaussian, sparse to moderately dense models. The motivation for constructing sepsets using information in the current graph state is to highlight the differences between d-‐separation information in the graph and conditional independence information extracted from the (...) sample. The same idea can be pursued for any algorithm for which conditioning sets informed by the current graph state can be constructed and for which an orientation procedure capable of orienting undirected graphs can be extracted. Another plausible candidate for such retrofitting is the CPC algorithm (Ramsey et al, 2006), yielding an algorithm, JCPC, which, when the true graph is sparse is somewhat more accurate than JPC. The method is not feasible for discovery for models of categorical variables, i.e., traditional Bayes nets; with alternative tests for conditional independence it may extend to non-‐linear or non-‐Gaussian models, or both. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a detailed critical reading of Robert Brandom’s project to give an expressive bootstrapping account of intentionality, cashed out as a normativephenomenalist account of what I will call genuine normativity. I claim that there is a reading of Making It Explicit that evades the predominant charges of either reductionism or circularity. However, making sense of Brandom’s book in the way proposed here involves correcting Brandom’s own general account of what he is doing in it, and (...) thus presenting the argumentative structure of Making It Explicit in a new light. (shrink)
Should conciliating with disagreeing peers be considered sufficient for reaching rational beliefs? Thomas Kelly argues that when taken this way, Conciliationism lets those who enter into a disagreement with an irrational belief reach a rational belief all too easily. Three kinds of responses defending Conciliationism are found in the literature. One response has it that conciliation is required only of agents who have a rational belief as they enter into a disagreement. This response yields a requirement that no one should (...) follow. If the need to conciliate applies only to already rational agents, then an agent must conciliate only when her peer is the one irrational. A second response views conciliation as merely necessary for having a rational belief. This alone does little to address the central question of what is rational to believe when facing a disagreeing peer. Attempts to develop the response either reduce to the first response, or deem necessary an unnecessary doxastic revision, or imply that rational dilemmas obtain in cases where intuitively there are none. A third response tells us to weigh what our pre-disagreement evidence supports against the evidence from the disagreement itself. This invites epistemic akrasia. (shrink)
This paper articulates two constraints on an acceptable account of meaning: (i) accessibility: sameness of meaning affords an immediate appearance of de jure co-reference, (ii) flexibility: sameness of meaning tolerates open-ended variation in speakers' substantive understanding of the reference. Traditional accounts of meaning have trouble simultaneously satisfying both constraints. I suggest that relationally individuated meanings provide a promising way of avoiding this tension. On relational accounts, we bootstrap our way to de jure co-reference: the subjective appearance of de jure co-reference (...) helps make it the case that two token representations really do co-refer. (shrink)